Cisco Files Lawsuit Against Former Employees

Cisco Systems has launched legal action against three former staff members who left the networking giant to join one of its competitors.

The lawsuit alleges that the three men stole thousands of pages of trade secrets, when they joined a rival firm called Poly

According to the San Jose Business Journal, the three men are Poly Distinguished Engineer Wilson Chung, Poly director James He, and Poly VP of new product introduction Jedd Williams.

Trade secrets

The lawsuit alleges that the three men shortly after resigning their jobs at Cisco this year, they joined an unidentified company that competes “in the IP telephony, headset, video, and collaboration space,” according to the complaint.

Indeed, in the complaint Cisco alleges that that Chung, who was one of its principal engineers, downloaded more than 3,000 internal documents containing trade secrets, including information about the company’s contributions to 5G technology and its design specification for a video-conferencing prototype.

Chung is also accused of recruiting another Cisco engineer, James He, to join the competitor. At that point, He started photographing confidential Cisco documents with his iPhone and copying other company records and emails.

Cisco also alleged that sales executive Jedd Williams sought employment with the same competitor, after 21 years at Cisco.

The complaint alleges he uploaded 12 Cisco sales forecasting spreadsheets.

LinkedIn profiles for men with the same names show that all three, after long stints at Cisco, now work at San Jose-based Poly, a developer of video, voice and content collaboration and communication technology.

“As reflected in the allegations in the complaint, we took the unusual step of filing a legal case against former employees for egregious intellectual property violations,” Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum said told the San Jose Business Journal in an email. “Our goal is to protect our significant (research and development) investments and valuable intellectual property.”

Poly spokeswoman Edie Kissko reportedly said the company would not be commenting on the lawsuit.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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